First off, I know you’re going to hate me, but I don’t have any pictures from this show. Which is silly, because it’s the second largest show in the country. But I have my reasons, and I’ll explain them below….
I took off early from the office to catch my flight from O’Hare to Laguardia with my 65+ pounds of gear in tow. I had packed most of my stuff into my carry-on bag, but anticipating that sales at this show would be high (it’s the second largest show in the country, and at Wizard World Chicago I sold through an entire box of Reading with Pictures), I decided to bring a box and a half of RWP and check the box as luggage.
I got through security and baggage check quickly enough, and read a book while eating an apple and waiting for my plane to take me to the Big Apple.
The flight was short enough and they played an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Friday Night Lights,” so that kept me entertained.
I landed and got my stuff and headed into the city, arriving pretty late at night. Steve Wallace (Binary Love, Sequential Suicide) met me at the train to help me carry my ton of crap, and then we hit up a karaoke Irish pub for drinks and dinner, followed by sleep.
An early morning and Steve and I piled into a car to get to the con (no taxi would touch us, two guys carrying a good 100 pounds of gear between the two of us). We got in and set up, and I looked around the convention center a bit.
For those of you who haven’t been to the Javits before, the place is HUGE!
The middle of the convention center is currently under construction (I think they’re getting rid of a third floor they had), so the show as technically split into two rooms: the dealer / publisher room, and the artist alley / small press room. This ticked me off a bit, because it would be difficult for residual traffic to cross over to artist alley (where I was located), much less the non-observant con-goer from even finding the place. Plus, artist alley was behind a gigantic Intel area (approximately 1/8 of the total show floor) with large screens and LAN computers for gaming tourneys.
Professional hours started up and Steve and I hung out at the booth mostly, hoping to meet some passers-by and possibly get a jump-start on sales. Unfortunately Friday wasn’t a very strong sales day (which they often aren’t, but for a show this large I would at least expect more than we made). We spent the day selling and promoting our works, and meeting up with friends new and old.
After the show we went out for dinner and drinks with our comic buddies from The Digital Pimp and Multiplex. An old friend of mine called me up, having moved into the city from Ireland of all places, and she tagged along with us as we went bar hopping and reconnected late into the night. Her and I ended up closing the bar, walking around the neighborhood, and chit-chatting until we were too tired to stay awake.
Waking up a little late, I bum rushed to the convention center with just enough time to set up before the doors opened to the flood of people. The show maxed out in attendance this day, yet traffic felt very light back in artist alley. I don’t know if people just couldn’t find us, or if people were too busy attending panels for the Big Two. The people who did stop by the booth were enjoying a good look, but unfortunately it didn’t translate into a lot of sales.
At one point I took a break from the table to go find the Green Room. For those of you who haven’t ever had a table before at a show, the Green Room is a place where industry professionals can go kick their feet up and grab a water and a break. Since I’d been speaking to people all day, my throat was a little dry and craving water. Unfortunately, no one knew where the Green Room was. We eventually went to the convention office, and they were kind enough to get us some water bottles.
During the search for the Green Room, I got a glace at the downstairs area of the convention center – where most of the panel rooms and Anime events were happening. As well as the IGN theater.
After another long day on the floor, I was starting to feel a bit discouraged because sales were so low – yet attendance was so high. Steve and I went back to the hotel to drop off our stuff, and then hit up a Thai place for dinner. Afterwards, we went to a bar to meet up with some friends and hang out for the rest of the evening.
The final day of the show started off a little late, but Steve and I made it to the show and had a strong morning. In fact, until about lunch time we were almost solid sales. I finally made the table back, and around that time sales started to slump again – so I went around the floor to say hi to friends and industry professionals. After making the rounds, Steve and I packed up and headed out to the airport for our respective flights home.
Overall, the weekend was poor in sales but high in fun. It’s a great networking show and awesome to see what people are doing. From a sales perspective, artist alley and small press have some amazing products that are totally worth your time and money. A piece of advice when you go to a show like this: bring enough money to buy stuff. And feel free to chat with people about their work. You never know who the next big comic celebrity might be.